BIMS Speaker Preview: How Matt Yorke Is Creating a New Marketing Services Blueprint for SourceMedia

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In January 2017, SourceMedia tapped Matt Yorke as chief marketing officer. Yorke, who previously served as CEO of IDG Enterprise and IDG Solutions, and most recently as managing director of business development and marketing for global media and marketing agency OMD, was tasked with setting Source on the path to creating a modern advertising and marketing services operation. “Matt Yorke will play a vital role in enabling us to capitalize on our recent accomplishments and realize the full potential of our brands and audiences as a platform for marketing services,” said SourceMedia CEO Doug Manoni at the time.   

The results so far? Six months in, SourceMedia has seen overall marketing services revenue grow 25 percent, while the company’s bid-to-win ratio on new business is up from 25 percent to 50 percent. Source has introduced 10 new marketing services products so far this year and account based marketing, Source’s big launch last year, has quickly grown to seven figures.

At the Business Information & Media Summit on Nov. 13, Yorke will share his vision of what marketing services looks like today (as well as what it will entail tomorrow) and walk through exactly what Source is doing to make marketing services a cornerstone of its business in an age where many publishers are struggling to capitalize on digital advertising. In an exclusive Q&A, Yorke shares a preview of his talk, including the initial steps that Source took and some of the quick wins the company has earned along the way.     

Connectiv: What’s been your focus since joining SourceMedia in January?

Matt Yorke: The first test for the first six or seven months was in mapping out a product road map for an 18-month period and then looking for quick tactical wins while making progress on the strategic initiatives.

Last year, we essentially rolled out one new product [ABM]. At the six month mark this year, we’ve rolled out 10. One aspect of that was building out the roadmap and looking at what needs to be done rather than stumbling in and fighting fires day-to-day. We filled in what we thought were the gaps in the toolkit for the sales organization but we also had to change the culture. This was very much a publishing culture of meetings with the need to get lots of different voices involved. Something that a digital pure play would get done in days would take us months. We also had to realize that just because we have leading brands, we have no right to thrive or even survive. Every day we should be coming in with an in-the-trenches mindset.

But at the same time we need to realize that no life or death decisions get made in publishing. We may screw up and have to issue a make-good but nobody ever dies. With that in mind, let’s move to become more reflective of a digital business, prepare to fail, fail fast and not make that mistake again. We need to know what we have to do today, what we need to do in eight months, and run those tracks concurrently

Connectiv: What are some examples of the 10 new products that you’ve introduced this year?

Yorke: One of things we’ve done is that instead of launching products that are defined by what they are (account based marketing), we’ve started branding everything. If you ask eight different people what account based marketing means, you’ll get eight different answers. Now we brand everything so that when sales gets questions, we have guiderails for those conversations. Our account based marketing product is now called SourceSelect and we built an audience extension program that we call SourceBoost. In B2B, one of the biggest challenges is justifying incredibly high CPMs with a finite supply of impressions. SourceBoost allows us to drive efficiency in cadence and delivery and e-cpm by first party data match and serving ads to our users on different websites. Bankers don’t just come to American Banker, they do go to other websites.

We brought in a syndicated native advertising program and we launched a new video product. The biggest challenge for video in B2B is how do you get enough people to play it? You can go to a sponsorship model but that’s not the best for sponsors because you can have viewability issues, so we successfully outstreamed in between paragraphs of our stories. One, you don’t have viewability issues and two, it scales, so you don’t have to do a sponsorship model.

Then we totally redesigned the research offering, which was loosey-goosey and always expensive, and productized that offering with things that could be turned around in seven days rather than months, and with price points that weren’t automatically $50,000 and up but sometimes around $5,000 and up because sometimes clients want tactical research.

We then launched Social Catalyst, which takes high trending topics and applies our content and mapped our first party data to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and serves that content to those individuals with an ad wrapper around it, so the only ads you see are the sponsors’ ads. That’s a clever integration of social, native and data.

We need to remember that B2B people are still consumers. In non-B2B environments, mobile is the primary source of ad revenue. What does that experience look like in the near future? Is it like what you see in things like Quartz? Is messaging going to be the primary interface, even in B2B? It’s still content, it’s just being distributed differently. We’re trying to think more and more in terms of users and where they are and how content finds them rather than waiting for them to find content.

Connectiv: What’s the payoff? How do you gauge success?

Yorke: The obvious one is monetary, every week we’re judged by that but beyond that we’re looking at our bid-to-win ratio. Are the average deal sizes we’re pitching going up and are our number of wins going up? We’re looking at the margins of the program as a whole—every time we productize something we make sure margins are healthy.

We’re also going to begin tracing our Net Promoter scores across the business. One I used to use at IDG was whether the client we’re pursuing views us as a strategic marketing partner and do they believe we make a difference for their business? If they do, we will likely get the Monday morning call. If they don’t, we likely get the Thursday afternoon or Friday morning call. And you want to be the Monday morning call. It doesn’t matter if they don’t buy every idea but a well put together idea, they won’t forget that. If we’re asking for $1 million dollars, it bloody well look like it’s worth $1 million.

The Business Information & Media Summit is the largest gathering dedicated to B2B media and information professionals, with tracks dedicated to C-level Strategy, Advertising & Marketing Services, Data, Revenue Generating Marketing and Audience Engagement. For the full agenda click here and for registration, click here

Matt Matt Kinsman is vice president of content + programming at Connectiv, the only association focused on the integrated b-to-b model—including publications, events, digital media, marketing services and business information. Prior to joining Connectiv's predecessor American Business Media in 2011, Kinsman was executive editor of Folio:, the leading information provider for the magazine industry.